IMDb > "Columbo" Murder by the Book (1971)
"Columbo: Murder by the Book (#1.1)"
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"Columbo" Murder by the Book (1971)

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Murder by the Book: Season 1: Episode 1 -- US Home Video Trailer from Universal TV


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7.6/10   2,164 votes »
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Steven Bochco (written by)
Richard Levinson (created by) ...
View company contact information for Murder by the Book on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
15 September 1971 (Season 1, Episode 1)
When one member of a mystery writing team wants to break from his less talented partner, he becomes the victim in a real-life murder mystery. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
(4 articles)
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User Reviews:
The best of the best in the Columbo series See more (29 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Jack Cassidy ... Ken Franklin

Rosemary Forsyth ... Joanna Ferris

Martin Milner ... Jim Ferris

Barbara Colby ... Lilly La Sanka
Lynette Mettey ... Gloria Jr. (as Lynnette Mettey)
Bernie Kuby ... Mike Tucker

Hoke Howell ... Sergeant

Marcia Wallace ... Woman (credit only)
Haven Earle Haley ... 2nd Reporter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Leon Alton ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Frank Baker ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Anitra Ford ... Woman at Theater (uncredited)
Bobby Gilbert ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
George Golden ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Paul King ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Joseph La Cava ... Medical Examiner (uncredited)
Ethelreda Leopold ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Leoda Richards ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)
Mark Russell ... Police Sgt. (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Theatre Patron (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Steven Spielberg 
Writing credits
Steven Bochco (written by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Richard Levinson .... producer
William Link .... producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography) (as Russell L. Metty)
Film Editing by
John Kaufman  (as John Kaufman Jr.)
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
Richard Friedman 
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ralph Ferrin .... assistant director
Sound Department
David H. Moriarty .... sound
Hubie Kerns Jr. .... stunts (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Steve Johnson .... colorist (uncredited)
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: theme
James D. Young .... music editor (uncredited)
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Attila De Lado .... main title design (as Attila de Lado)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
76 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Denmark:11 (2004) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | Norway:15 (2004) | Sweden:15 (2004) | UK:PG (video rating) (2000)

Did You Know?

Ken Franklin's house in "Murder By The Book" was also Eric Wagner's house in "Columbo: The Most Crucial Game (#2.3)" (1972).See more »
Revealing mistakes: The portrait of Mrs. Melville, prominently featured in "Murder by the Book", makes a cameo appearance on the back wall of the meeting room at the Sigma Society in "The Bye-Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case".See more »
[first lines]
[Jim works in his office]
Jim Ferris:[knock on the door] Who is it?
[another knock on the door]
Jim Ferris:[He opens the door - Ken is aiming a gun at his face. Jim laughs]
Ken Franklin:Oh, you're not intimidated.
Jim Ferris:Oh, come on, Ken. You're forgetting that I'm one-half of the world's greatest mystery-writing team? You, ah, don't have gloves on, your finger's not on the trigger, and there are no bullets in the cylinder.
Ken Franklin:[smiling] You're right. I'm a lousy practical joker.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Jeopardy!: Episode #22.52" (2005)See more »
Love Theme from 'Red Sky At Morning'See more »


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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
The best of the best in the Columbo series, 2 July 2009
Author: ericlday-1 from Washington, DC

Casting Jack Cassidy as Ken Frankin was sheer brilliance. Cassidy personified arrogance, confidence, charm and wit - all with a condescending, evil little smirk on his face. In my opinion, Jack Cassidy is by far the best murderer (having appeared three times) in the Columbo series. This particular (and first) performance, is my favorite Columbo episode ever - hands down. A fresh faced Steven Spielberg did amazing camera work (yes, there were a couple of camera shadows on the actors at times)capturing the nuances and banter at different and intriguing angles between Columbo and Franklin. Also, the panoramic and tight in shots at Big Bear Lake, CA (Franklin's cabin home) were very impressive.

If you have not yet seen this episode, then you owe it to yourself to do so - it's a true masterpiece.

Jack Cassidy was a very talented actor and singer. His charismatic personality was highly infectious. His death in 1976, at age 49 was very sad and indeed very tragic - he surely had his best years ahead of him. Rest in Peace Jack, you will live on for eternity through your great work.

Was the above review useful to you?
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